[INDOLOGY] Aikabhavika-nyaya

Shankar Nair shankaranair at gmail.com
Mon Jun 10 02:56:32 UTC 2019

Dear all,

I hope the early summer is treating you well. I write seeking help with a
reference in Madhusūdana Sarasvatī's *Ved*āntakalpalatik*ā*. In a
doxographical portion of the text, the author describes one group as

*Apare tu aikabhavikanyāyena ātmajñānamantareṇ**āpi** niṣiddhakāmyayor
ananuṣṭhānāt nityanaimittikānuṣṭhānāt ca na āgāmikarmotpādaḥ**.*
*Vidyamānasya copabhogena kṣayāt sakalakarmocchedalakṣaṇam apavargam āhuḥ.*

(But others [say], via *aikabhavika-ny**āya*, as a result of the performance
of the compulsory and occasional [*karmas*] and the non-performance of the
prohibited and voluntary [*karmas*], even without knowledge of *ātman*, there
is no production of future *karma*. They speak of “release” (*apavarga*) as
characterized by the extirpation of *karma* entirely, due to the exhausting
of present [*karmas*] by means of their enjoyment [in this current birth?].)

I am trying to identify the group Madhusūdana has in mind as well as the
principle/rule of "*aikabhavika*" that he references. The language used in
the passage brings the Mīmāṃsakas quickly to mind; however, the
organization of the treatise would strongly suggest that some Naiyāyika
and/or Vaiśeṣika group is at play. I seem to hazily recall that Praśastapāda
in his *Bhāṣ**ya*, perhaps, records a view along these lines? Yet I would
be surprised to see a [Nyāya-]Vaiśeṣika articulation of *mokṣ**a* that
gives so small a role to knowledge (cf. "*ātmajñānamantareṇ**āpi*").

To further complicate the identification, I wonder if *aikabhavika* might
in some way be connected with the well-known discussions of *ekabhavika* rooted
in Yoga-Bhāṣya 2.13? I am inclined to read *ekabhavika* in that context as
referring to a type of *karma* that bears fruit in a single subsequent
whereas I read Madhusūdana's *aikabhavika* here to refer to *karma* that
bears fruit and becomes exhausted within the very same lifetime, i.e.,
prior to death. I could certainly be mistaken, however, as I have seen "
*aikbhavika*" in the Brahma-Sūtra commentarial literature (3,1.2.8) -- by
Madhusūdana's fellow Advaitins -- in the former sense of *karma* that bears
fruit in the immediately subsequent birth.

I am open to all of your learned suggestions! If it helps at all, Madhusūdana
later casts this viewpoint aside with disdain, calling it so unfounded that
to bother to refute it would only bring shame upon the refuter.

With many thanks for your insights,

Shankar Nair

Assistant Professor
Department of Religious Studies and
Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures
University of Virginia

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